By Nandan Mandayam
BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian airline Vistara said on Monday it was confident of receiving its last 787 wide-body jet from Boeing by March or April, despite a recent incident on a narrow-body 737 MAX 9 that lost part of its fuselage.
“We will hit a fleet size of 70 aircraft by March or April 2024,” Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan said on a media call on Monday, much earlier than its previous timeline of end-2024.
Vistara, a joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines which began operating in 2015, currently operates a fleet of 67 jets, mostly single-aisle Airbus A320s and five Boeing 787s.
Kannan said he also expects to get all legal approvals for Vistara’s merger with larger carrier Air India in the first half of 2024 and to merge operations by mid-2025 at the latest.
Vistara is also closely tracking developments regarding the 737 MAX 9, Kannan said, but clarified that the incident on Sunday involving a new Alaska Airlines plane would not affect them.
Separately, India’s aviation regulator said on Monday that it was “satisfied” with the checks conducted by domestic airlines that operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8 following the Alaska Airlines incident.
(Reporting by Nandan Mandayam and Kashish Tandon in Bengaluru; editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jason Neely)